GRAFFITI + GOOD TIMES – A Stay in NYC’s Lower East Side

What was once labeled an immigrant slum, the streets of the Lower East Side are now filled with vintage stores, hipster cafes and live music at night. You’ll find the 100 gates project, a project where old illegal graffiti on security gates was replaced with artist’s work. The public art initiative connects artists with local businesses in order to transform the stigma of public art and graffiti.

Creating and cultivating the music scene of the LES, Ludlow Guitars played a major part in the transformation of the Lower East Side to a lively destination within the city. Just across the street from its old home, check into Hotel Indigo Lower East Side. The 14th floor Sky Lobby brings you into Lee Quiñones’ Lower East Side world.

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Lee Quiñones is an artist who emerged in the early beginnings of the street art movement in the LES after breaking out of the subway graffiti scene in the early 70s. The artwork on the ceiling of the Sky Lobby pays tribute to the LES with a bird’s-eye view of the area along with blown up replicas of polaroids that highlight influential people who are associated with the Lower East Side area of New York. Historically, the district has been known to be an “incubator,” as put by Quiñones, for creatives in all industries, from writers to musical artists, activists to fashion icons. 

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You’ll also find a cafe and bar in the Sky Lobby – serving a small menu that includes delicious lox bagels and coffee in the morning and a selection of classic and modern cocktails in the evening.

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If you’re not up for heading down to the dining areas, just order room service and have breakfast with a view. With 293 guest rooms in all, I stayed in a Grand Deluxe King room. The room is spacious with a fainting sofa and a flatscreen and all rooms come with stellar 180-degree views floor to ceiling of the city. The C.O. Bigelow bath products and a graffiti themed cocktail shaker just above a mini-bar complete with locally sourced beverages, chocolate and coffee were just a few of the details I loved.

Hotel Indigo Lower East Side does a great job of connecting guests to the local culture, from art to locally-sourced products both in the room and at dining spaces in the hotel that accompany guests throughout their entire stay.

In room is also a small desk with swivel chair if you need to get some work done, but for a more lofty-feeling remote office, head back down to the 14th floor lobby where you can sprawl out and be inspired by the breathtaking views of downtown Manhattan.

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Though it is often rented out for functions like weddings and small gatherings, I took a tour of the Penthouse. Like the other spaces throughout Hotel Indigo, the duplex suite is adorned with original Lee Quiñones art. The penthouse also has two outdoor terraces with sweeping views of the city from a perspective that you won’t find anywhere else.

Another principal on-site offering is Mr. Purple, the 15th floor restaurant named after an environmental activist who turned 5 abandoned plots of land in the LES into a community garden and is featured in one of the polaroids painted on the ceiling of the Sky Lobby. My favorite cocktail was the Air Oaxaca with montelobos Mezcal, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, mole bitters (OMG yum!) and fresh lemon. They also make a delicious Kale Salad with roasted shallot vinaigrette, cucumber, red quinoa and garlic croutons.

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Step outside and plunge into the heated pool or have a drink at the outdoor bar — quite the summer scene.

It’s easy to get swept up in the rush of New York City, so Hotel Indigo Lower East Side is the place to be to slow down and connect with the roots of the area around the area.

GRAFFITI + GOOD TIMES – My Weekend Stay in NYC’s Lower East Side


  • Pet Friendly: As long as you give a heads up, Hotel Indigo Lower East Side allows you to bring your best friend along on your adventure to the city!
  • Fitness Center: Open 24 hours a day with state of the art equipment. You can also request a personal trainer to help with your workouts.
  • Meeting Room: Even if you are stuck in meetings, you won’t have to miss out on the breathtaking view of the city in the Gallery Meeting Room
  • Free newspapers + wifi: To accompany your stay in the city.
  • Large umbrellas available: So the rain will never interrupt your big city plans!

Enjoy your next LES stay!

Hotel Indigo LES hosted me on my two night stay, but as always words and opinions expressed here are my own.